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Woodbury Carbon sequestration via wood harvest and storage (WHS)

Principal Investigator(s): 

Abstract: 

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To mitigate global climate change, a portfolio of strategies will be needed to keep the atmospheric CO2 concentration below a dangerous level. I propose a carbon sequestration strategy in which certain dead or live trees are harvested via collection or selective cutting, then buried in trenches or stowed away in above-ground shelters. The largely anaerobic condition under a sufficiently thick layer of soil will prevent the decomposition of the buried wood. Because a large flux of CO2 is constantly being assimilated into the world’s forests via photosynthesis, cutting off its return pathway to the atmosphere forms an effective carbon sink. I estimated that a theoretical potential for sustainable long-term carbon sequestration using WHS is 10 GtC/y, but the practical potential is likely between 1-5 GtC/y. The cost is lower than the typical cost for power plant CO2 capture with geological storage. The technique is low tech, distributed, easy to monitor, safe, and reversible, thus an attractive option for large-scale implementation in a world-wide carbon market. Zeng (2008). See In the News for media stories and comments. Further discussion can be found at biocarbonsinks.org.

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Zeng, N., Y. Ding, J. Pan, H. Wang, J. Gregg, 2008: Climate change: the Chinese challenge. Science, 319, 730-731.